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Issue 61 - Blood and Sand

Whisky Magazine Issue 61
January 2007


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Blood and Sand

Ian Wisniewski looks at a silver screen classic cocktail

While some cocktails are the result of sheer creativity, and so can happen at any point in a bartender's career, other recipes are inspired by specific events at a particular time. The blood and sand cocktail for example, was created in 1922 for the premier of the film Blood and Sand, starring Rudolph Valentino, then the most successful actor in Hollywood.

Comprising Scotch whisky, red vermouth, cherry brandy liqueur and orange juice, shaken over ice and strained into a cocktail glass, the success of this cocktail rests on attaining the right balance between such distinctively flavoured ingredients.

In addition to the right proportions, the specific choice of each ingredient does also of course influence the final flavour.

Whether the Scotch whisky is mellower or richer, with brands offering various degrees of oakyness, vanilla, honeyed notes or fruityness for instance, while cherry brandy liqueurs can include a hint of almonds on the palate.

Similarly, there's plenty of individuality among red vermouths, while the taste of orange juice can also vary greatly.

Although the author of the recipe remains elusive, it must have been a great honour to create a cocktail for such a star as Rudolph Valentino.

Born in Italy in 1895, he was discovered in Paris before relocating to New York. Having worked as a model and dancer, he had the right qualifications to achieve his ambition of becoming an actor, as modelling was then a typical route into acting.

The inevitable move from Ne...

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